By Mick Hinton
The Moore American
OKLAHOMA CITY — It’s official. Cleveland County will have an additional district judge.
Gov. Mary Fallin, who signed Senate Bill 820 into law, thanked legislators Thursday for sending this bill to her desk.
“Transferring an additional judge seat to Cleveland County will help to reduce delays in hearing cases and improve the judicial process for residents,” Fallin said.
Civil cases filed in Cleveland County this month are not being docketed for hearing until September or October, due to judges’ heavy caseloads.
The new law transfers a judge position to Cleveland County from Seminole County, where the judicial caseload is much less.
“I think it is probably the most important bill that I could ever help get passed,” State Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, said Thursday.
Cleveland was author of the language calling for a new judge post. His amendment calls for voters in Cleveland, McClain and Garvin counties to fill the new post in November 2014, with the judge to take office in January 2015. That position must be filled by a Cleveland County resident, according to the law.
Cleveland County leaders have been working for several years to get an additional post. The bill ran into trouble earlier in the session.
Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman, worked on a compromise with Senate author Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, to come up with acceptable language to accomplish the transfer.
Cleveland applauded Sykes “for realizing this is an important issue.”